With summer around the corner, sexy, sculpted arms are in demand. You don’t need weights and a gym to get sculpted arms. A good arm workout at home is possible using your own body weight for movements based in Pilates and calisthenics training. Weight bearing exercises not only define the muscles in our shoulders and arms, but they are good for strengthening our joints and getting all of our core muscles to work together for optimal functionality. I once had a Pilates teacher who said, “You can’t expect anyone else but yourself to hold your own weight up.” Ever since then, I realized the importance both physically and mentally of being able to bear my own body weight. Here are 5 challenging exercises anyone can do at home without weights to build sexy, sculpted arms.
Y’s– This exercise works the back of the shoulders and upper back, focusing on the rear deltoids, scapulas and trapezius. Lying on the floor face down with the knees bent to stabilize the pelvis, strecth your arms out to a “Y.” Make sure your palms are facing each other and the neck is in line with the spine. Pull your shoulder blades down before contracting your rear deltoids and lifting your arms off the ground. I lift my chest slightly off the ground to incorporate more back muscles, but you may keep your chest on the ground to isolate the shoulders. Do 10-15 reps.
Tricep Dips– Sculpt your triceps with this exercise. With your legs bent and squeezing together, place your hands behind you with the fingers facing in towards your heels. Lift your hips up by pressing your feet into the ground and leaning back. Don’t allow your shoulders to go further than your wrists. Bend your elbows to lower your body and then lift it back up. You may adjust the weight to make it more challenging or less, depending on how you distribute your body weight onto your feet versus your hands. Less weight on the lower body is more challenging. To make it harder, lift one leg up off the ground and squeeze your inner thighs together. Do 10 on each leg.
Wide Push ups with Knee Stretch– The wide push up focuses more on the anterior deltoid and the pectoralis but just holding the plank strengthens the entire body and core. I added the knee stretches in between to burn out the abs. When doing the wide push ups, makes sure your hands are wide enough so that when you lower your body, you are creating a 90 degree angle with your arms. Do one push up with your legs shoulder width apart and then pull one knee in to tap each elbow. Repeat with the other leg. That all counts as one rep. The challenge is keeping your hips level and torso stable. Do 10 reps.
Walking Plank– Although it is another full body workout, this really focuses on shoulders and biceps. With your legs and arms shoulder width apart, hold yourself up in a plank position. Lower one arm onto the elbow and then the other with control, trying your best not to shift your hips. Once you lower onto both forearms, place one hand back on the ground and then the other to lift yourself back up to a plank on your hands. Repeat this move 5 times with your right hand doing the initial move before switching to your left hand initiating for another 5 reps.
Shoulder Taps with Narrow Push Ups. Get into a push up position with the hands narrow and the legs wide for support. Keep the elbows right next to the sides of your torso at all times to get the most out of the tricep push up. While on your hands, tap one hand to the opposite shoulder, place it back on the ground and repeat with the other hand without any shifting of the hips. The wide foot placement helps stabilize the hips. Once you tap each shoulder, drop down into a narrow push up trying to get your chest to touch the floor. This exercise may be modified so that you are on your knees but the knees must be spread apart for stability in order to do the shoulder taps properly. These are challenging, especially after doing the other exercises on this list. Work up to 5-10 reps.
Being able to hold your own body weight and push yourself up not only builds beautiful strong arms, but it also builds confidence. Let’s practice these exercises and bring out those sleeveless shirts this summer!
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